We traveled to the Imperial landfill, run by Republic Services, to see first hand the final resting place of all of our waste. It was an eye-opening experience, and was completely different than any of our expectations. Here is a video I made about the landfills, with interviews from a few of the employees there. We hope you enjoy it!
Archive for July, 2011
On Monday, we traveled to Monaca PA to interview Mario Leone, borough manager. After we read the Pittsburgh Post Gazette article about his sustainability efforts, we were so impressed by his efforts that we wrote a blog post and tried to arrange an interview with Mr. Leone. This video highlights the good work he is doing, proving that a municipality does not have to be large or wealthy to reduce inefficiency and cut carbon emissions.
The bill will require contractors of city-subsidized developments to install pollution-control equipment for on-road diesel equipment by January 1st of 2012 and off-road by 2013. This means that by the time the years of 2012 and 2013 roll around, all vehicles such as trucks, buses, and other heavy-duty vehicles must have pollution-control equipment installed. However this requirement only applies to projects that use at least $250,000 in city subsidies, and have a total cost of over $2.5 million.
The legislation was supported by the bill’s sponsor, Councilman Bill Peduto, environmentalists, and a variety of different unions and community groups. And though the bill was approved and supported by many on the council, one councilmen, Ricky Burgess had some misgivings, believing that it would have a minimal impact on air standards and prevent investments in troubled neighborhoods.
In the end however, the bill was approved with a vote of 8-0.
Here is a video we produced featuring and interview with Connie Rosenbayger and Sarah Stroney from East Mckeesport, discussing their efforts to make their community more sustainable. We hope you enjoy it!
What Makes A Sustainable Community:
In order to create a sustainable community one must first start at the source of the problem. This source can be anything which is not making a community sustainable. Unfortunately, in most cases, that source is us, or to be exact, our lifestyle and culture.
Or, as Walt Kelly put it in his comic strip Pogo, “We have met the enemy…and he is us”
Now we know what the problem is, but…how do we fix it?
Well to fix it, first you have to figure out what makes a sustainable community..well…sustainable! And once you find that answer you’ll be on your way to making a community more sustainable.
I have read a couple of chapters from the books Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change by Peter Calthorpe, and Sustainable Urbanism Urban Design with Nature by Douglas Farr. I have discovered the four main things in which makes a community sustainable.
Those four things are…
- Healthy Lifestyles
And each of these four things have its own part in making a community sustainable.
Urbanism is the process that drives people to come live in the city. Without urban planning there would be no people, and without people, there would be no city.
Healthy Lifestyles are the product of a sustainable community, for if you are healthy, which means being active, the community is healthy
Conservation is the protection, preservation or restoration of something. Without conservation we would consume more than what the earth can supply, thus not only destroy the earth, but ourselves as well.
Diversity could also be a product of a sustainable community. Diversity is the process of the acceptance or tolerance of differences, so if a community accepts these differences then they would be more open to new and different ideas that might make a community more sustainable.
As you can see, creating a sustainable community is no joke. It takes more than a few encouraging words or actions in order to get the job done. Not to mention a lot of time. However, as long as you have these four things in mind then you should have no problem in making your community more sustainable.
Why is Monaca today’s featured post? The reason is they said yes to almost every question on the Sustainable Pittsburgh’s checklist of ways municipalities can save more, waste less and develop themselves sustainably. If that doesn’t deserve recognition, then how about the fact that Monaca was one in about two handful of municipalities that did so?
Monaca is a small town located in Beaver County which is home to about 6,000 residents. It may be because of these residents that it stood out so much. Well, them and the Monaca Borough manager, Mario Leone, that is.
Mario Leone is exactly the kind of borough manager we are looking to highlight. Not only is he concerned and knowledgeable about sustainability in his community, but he is pragmatic about it too. In Diana Nelson Jones’s interview, he said, “I want to be a good environmental steward. I want a sustainable community for my children. But the driving factor is economic.” It is all well and good to have innovative programs that improve the sustainability of the community, but finances must be considered in order for the idea to have any traction.
Mr. Leone, with the backing of the Monaca council, has been busy securing grants to help pay for upgrades that will make municipal systems more efficient, saving the local government money at a low initial cost. In this new era when all governments are scrambling to balance budgets, why not make systems more efficient instead of axing vital programs? For example, Monaca installed a wireless water metering systems which will pay for itself in the coming years by reducing maintenance costs. Diana’s interview mentioned that Monaca now has GPS devices devices that wirelessly monitor each vehicle’s gas usage and mileage. This is exactly the kind of program that we would be interested in funding with our Vehicle for Change grant. Hopefully we will hear more from Monaca in the future!
Monaca’s web site: http://monacapa.net/